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Chinatown In Trouble
December 12, 2004 4:54 PM   Subscribe

Help Save Chinatown Nope, not the Polanski classic, but London's Chinatown. I found this on the Reverend Rat's London street life blog, and the BBC seems to confirm it: London's Chinatown is becoming a victim of its own commercial success, in stark contrast to some others in the world which are shrinking dramatically or being superseded by the so-called ethnoburbs.
If you don't know much about Chinatowns, the Wiki entry is as a good place to start as any.
posted by runkelfinker (7 comments total)

 
All things change.
posted by Postroad at 5:04 PM on December 12, 2004


Though it's not as serious, Camden, the long-time locus of the early London alternative scene is another victim of its own success. The few remaining "freaks" are way outnumbered by "tourists". Not sure how successful these guys were, but I think I heard about their efforts a while back..
posted by Drexen at 5:35 PM on December 12, 2004


All things change.. Nothing new under the sun.. To Everything There Is a Season.. etc etc...

I for one like change..

Here in nyc the traditional Chinatown in Manhattan is starting become more commercial and tourist. Although east of the Bowery you can still walk around and feel like your not in North America (one of my most favorite things to do in the world, btw) - everywhere else the menus are translated to english and hardly anybody orders tripe in chilli sauce.

But take a short train ride out past Rego Park in Queens and there is a thriving Chinese community with giant buffet restaurants full of sublime food, lights that look like a carnival in the parking light and 1-100 ratio of natives to immigrants.

Maybe its an American thing, where we are used to things being in a constant flux, but everytime a neighborhood gentrifies or an ethnic enclave goes disney I know someplace on the edge of town with cheap housing the process is starting again.
posted by PissOnYourParade at 6:02 PM on December 12, 2004


I don't think it's just happening in Chinatown. It's happening in China as well. Here, great neighborhoods are routinely (and sometimes totally) levelled to make way for whatever WalMart/McDonald's/KFC type establishment will make the place seem "modern" and "worldly". It's a shame, too.
posted by taschenrechner at 11:07 PM on December 12, 2004


Although it shouldn't amuse me, aware as I am of the manifold differences as well as the similarities between Korea and China, I'm still amused that Korea actually has a Chinatown (one, mind you), in the port of Incheon.

(They sell jjajang myeon there. Surprise!)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:14 AM on December 13, 2004


The idea of zoning these regions is a pretty touchy one - for example, the formerly hip Shoreditch area in London (the part of the horribly depressed and run-down borough of Tower Hamlets scenesters and city boys go to) has been "rebranded" as "Banglatown", to reflect its Bengali population and culture - however, this nomenclature is more often honoured in the breach than the observance, I believe. One major difference being that Chinatown is a mercantile area - shops and restaurants - whereas, although Shoreditch is certainly home to many Bangladeshi-run restaurants of wildly varying quality, it is also a place where many Bengalis and people of Bengali descent live, whereas Chinatown in Soho is not residential in the same way that, say, the old Chinatown in Limehouse was.
posted by tannhauser at 9:43 AM on December 13, 2004


I have been going to london chinatown for a couple of years - it used to be the only place to eat at 3 in the morning. Don't really go there anymore - food is too expensive now and Soho is really overcrowded and frankly rubbish.

Once the dive bar had closed down (the one the PSBs sang about) there was little reason left to go.

I'd prefer a campaign to save these individual places than the so called nature of the area. There's already lots of japanese restaurants and random bars springing up anyway.
posted by dprs75 at 9:11 AM on December 14, 2004


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